The 'biographical turn' in university sociology teaching: A Bernsteinian analysis

Monica Mclean, Andrea Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known about what happens to disciplinary knowledge when it is taught in contemporary UK universities of different status. Here, Basil Bernstein's theories are applied to what sociology lecturers say about teaching, demonstrating that in conditions in which students are less likely to engage with sociological theory, lecturers, particularly in universities of lower status, employ 'biographical methods' to ensure that a 'core' of sociology remains intact and sociology is reproduced in students. Students' lives are used as subject matter to teach the relevance and value of sociology. Attention is drawn to how, while this pedagogic strategy might result in a powerless form of 'pop sociology', in this case, lecturers bring theory, student research and application into a dynamic relationship which unexpectedly suggests that, at present, sociology might be more easily preserved in the less prestigious universities.

LanguageEnglish
Pages529-539
Number of pages11
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
StatusPublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

sociology
university
Teaching
university teacher
biographical method
student
sociological theory
pedagogics
present
Values

Keywords

  • Basil Bernstein
  • Biographical pedagogy
  • Social class
  • Teaching sociology

Cite this

The 'biographical turn' in university sociology teaching : A Bernsteinian analysis. / Mclean, Monica; Abbas, Andrea.

In: Teaching in Higher Education, Vol. 14, No. 5, 10.2009, p. 529-539.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{b2fe67af953b412bb082720e456c5d3f,
title = "The 'biographical turn' in university sociology teaching: A Bernsteinian analysis",
abstract = "Little is known about what happens to disciplinary knowledge when it is taught in contemporary UK universities of different status. Here, Basil Bernstein's theories are applied to what sociology lecturers say about teaching, demonstrating that in conditions in which students are less likely to engage with sociological theory, lecturers, particularly in universities of lower status, employ 'biographical methods' to ensure that a 'core' of sociology remains intact and sociology is reproduced in students. Students' lives are used as subject matter to teach the relevance and value of sociology. Attention is drawn to how, while this pedagogic strategy might result in a powerless form of 'pop sociology', in this case, lecturers bring theory, student research and application into a dynamic relationship which unexpectedly suggests that, at present, sociology might be more easily preserved in the less prestigious universities.",
keywords = "Basil Bernstein, Biographical pedagogy, Social class, Teaching sociology",
author = "Monica Mclean and Andrea Abbas",
year = "2009",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1080/13562510903186725",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
pages = "529--539",
journal = "Teaching in Higher Education",
issn = "1356-2517",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The 'biographical turn' in university sociology teaching

T2 - Teaching in Higher Education

AU - Mclean, Monica

AU - Abbas, Andrea

PY - 2009/10

Y1 - 2009/10

N2 - Little is known about what happens to disciplinary knowledge when it is taught in contemporary UK universities of different status. Here, Basil Bernstein's theories are applied to what sociology lecturers say about teaching, demonstrating that in conditions in which students are less likely to engage with sociological theory, lecturers, particularly in universities of lower status, employ 'biographical methods' to ensure that a 'core' of sociology remains intact and sociology is reproduced in students. Students' lives are used as subject matter to teach the relevance and value of sociology. Attention is drawn to how, while this pedagogic strategy might result in a powerless form of 'pop sociology', in this case, lecturers bring theory, student research and application into a dynamic relationship which unexpectedly suggests that, at present, sociology might be more easily preserved in the less prestigious universities.

AB - Little is known about what happens to disciplinary knowledge when it is taught in contemporary UK universities of different status. Here, Basil Bernstein's theories are applied to what sociology lecturers say about teaching, demonstrating that in conditions in which students are less likely to engage with sociological theory, lecturers, particularly in universities of lower status, employ 'biographical methods' to ensure that a 'core' of sociology remains intact and sociology is reproduced in students. Students' lives are used as subject matter to teach the relevance and value of sociology. Attention is drawn to how, while this pedagogic strategy might result in a powerless form of 'pop sociology', in this case, lecturers bring theory, student research and application into a dynamic relationship which unexpectedly suggests that, at present, sociology might be more easily preserved in the less prestigious universities.

KW - Basil Bernstein

KW - Biographical pedagogy

KW - Social class

KW - Teaching sociology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=70349873803&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13562510903186725

U2 - 10.1080/13562510903186725

DO - 10.1080/13562510903186725

M3 - Article

VL - 14

SP - 529

EP - 539

JO - Teaching in Higher Education

JF - Teaching in Higher Education

SN - 1356-2517

IS - 5

ER -